How a Technology Detox Can Benefit Kids and Parents
Children today are spending more time than ever using digital technology to watch movies, play games and connect with friends. Concern over the long-term effects of too much screen time is high with some parents even sending their kids to expensive bootcamps to wean them off devices.
Children who spend excessive amounts of time glued to screens are deprived of opportunities to interact directly with others and engage in healthy exercise. This is confirmed by the Department of Health, which advises that those engaged for long periods playing computer games and watching TV, are more likely to “have poor physical, social and intellectual development.”
It can be difficult for parents to set limits on screen time when they spend a lot of time using devices themselves. A digital detox for the whole family is a good way to moderate use of technology and break bad habits.
A study by UCLA of 11 to 13 years found that a digital detox helped children read other people’s emotional expressions more effectively. After five days of abstaining from digital technology participants showed significant improvement when it came to recognising how others were feeling.
This supports the view that face-to-face contact is essential for children to develop social skills. When kids are focused on devices, they don’t learn to read non-verbal cues and may have trouble relating to others in the real world.
Children with good social skills will perform better academically and are less likely to suffer from anxiety. Family life will be more harmonious when kids show empathy and concern for the feelings of others.
Health and Fitness
Before technology took over, kids spent a lot more time outdoors. Today it’s not uncommon to drive down suburban streets on weekends and after school and see few children riding bikes and playing in parks.
Kids who don’t get enough exercise will have poor cardiovascular health, setting them up for future problems. When they don’t get a chance to burn off energy, they may develop behavioural and sleep issues which affect the whole family.
On the other hand, children who exercise have improved attention spans, reduced stress and enhanced problem-solving skills. As a family there are many fun activities you can do to stay fit and healthy and spend quality time together.
Digital technology has become so integral to modern life that most people don’t realise just how much time they are spending on computers, phones and iPads. Children are even more vulnerable to excessive use because they’ve never experienced life without devices.
A digital detox can help parents and children recognise just how much of their time is being consumed by technology. This self-awareness will help your family set healthy boundaries, recognise bad habits and make conscious choices about how to use devices.
- It’s a great idea to ditch the technology for a weekend and go camping. Being away from home and spending time outdoors will make it easier to adjust.
- If you don’t have the time or money to go away, you can set aside time each day for family activities that don’t involve technology.
- Kids should not see a digital detox as a form of punishment, so find fun things to do together to fill the time.
- Once you’ve established rules around technology its essential to stick to them.
- Set a good example by making the effort to communicate with people directly.